The Camisea Natural Gas Project in Peru is one of South America's largest energy developments. With six pipeline ruptures since 2004, it's also one of the most controversial.
Bishop Fernando Lugo gathered his flock on a cold Saturday morning, and they came -- more than 600 mostly poor peasants -- to the rural city of Horqueta. Unlike many rallies in this impoverished country, it didn't take threats or bribes of food and alcohol to get them there.
In a country steeped in corruption and political puppeteering, they traveled as far as 50 miles to hear the "Bishop of the Poor" speak.
After a notice went out on the radio, entire towns packed themselves on the backs of flatbed trucks to make the frigid journey.
Argentina's economic crisis in the early 2000s threw tens of thousands out of work. For many, working for themselves as a cartonero, someone who collects trash to sell to recycling centers, became the only option to put food on the table.
As featured on Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria.
This film was produced in association with The Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) and J. Malcolm Garcia, who authored the "The White Train" for the Fall 2007 issue.
Charles Lane discusses the role of Paraguay's soy bean production in the American and international market.
Everyone I interviewed blames the Paraguayan government for the negative impacts of soy. The corruption, the lack of economic and social programs, and the selective enforcement of laws. My last interview was with Senator Alfredo Jaeggli, a former race car driver who decided 18 years ago to become a politician for the opposition.
The people pushed out by soy typically come to one of Asuncion's three shanty towns where they hope to (eventually) find work. One is behind Paraguay's legislative building and another is closer to the suburbs. The oldest one is Cateura, so named because it was built from the landfill of the same name that looms in the background.
Charles Lane meets Paraguay's priest-turned-politician, Fernando Lugo.
When the trumpet sounded,
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah divided the world
among Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations:
The United Fruit Company Inc.
reserved for itself the juiciest piece,
the central coast of my own land,
the sweet waist of America.
—Pablo Neruda, "The United Fruit Co."
I asked Lena Rigley, the wife of a Brazilian soy grower, to read from the police report filed shortly after their soy plantation was invaded in 2001:
The chant-like call for Friday's mid-day prayer rings from the loudspeaker, breaking through the humid jungle air. Worshipers file into the shiny, white mosque, chatting in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish as they take their spots on the soft, blue carpet.
A hush settles over the dome when Sheik Taleb Jomha, the spiritual leader, or imam, enters and climbs to his perch on the altar. He quickly commands the group's attention, leading this community of Muslim Brazilians as they turn towards Mecca and pray.
Pulitzer center grantee Charles Lane discusses the various chemicals used in soy bean production.
Many Paraguayans' lands have been turned into soy fields and have been forced to become part of the 180 squatters living in the outskirts of Santa Rita.